Date lodged: 23 May 2019
To ask the Scottish Government what information it can provide regarding the visit of the Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science to Berlin recently.
Answered by: Richard Lochhead 28 May 2019
I attended a series of meetings and events in Berlin with “Connected Scotland” partners to underline the value that the Scottish higher education sector places on its close partnerships in research, innovation and education with German counterparts. I undertook a series of targeted engagements with key stakeholders in Berlin including the Federal German Ministry of Education and Research and the DAAD (the German Academic Exchange Service) - helping open the door to establishing a more formalised partnership between Scotland and Germany in these policy areas. I engaged with Scottish alumni at one of the events and was able to strongly signal at all meetings and events that Scotland is welcoming to EU citizens and remains open for business despite the continued uncertainty posed by Brexit. Scotland recognises that Germany is the top country in Europe for collaboration with Scotland through the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme, and is the European country that sends the most students to Scotland. Scottish innovation centres and research pools could seek to increase their research partnerships with Germany including key clusters or other groups there. Germany is Scotland’s fourth highest trade and sixth highest investment partner. These partnerships are vital in ensuring Scotland’s success as well as Germany’s. There is huge goodwill in both Germany and Scotland to maintain and develop partnerships despite the current Brexit disruption.